Another attack at SF Jail: One facility reopens Wednesday, while the other remains under lockdown

San Francisco Sheriff Paul Miyamoto said on Tuesday that an incident at the County Jail in San Bruno is causing negotiators to step in. Also, an incarcerated person punched a deputy at the San Francisco booking facility. These are just more issues in the string of incidents where deputies have been put in danger. 

After several days under lockdown, one of the two county jails will resume as normal starting Wednesday. But the incident is keeping County Jail #3 under lockdown, according to Miyamoto. 

The county jails remained under lockdown Tuesday after officials reported violence at the facilities causing injuries to nine deputies with the San Francisco Sheriff’s Office.

While deputies complain of understaffing and overworking, incarcerated people call the jail system "unruly" and "dangerous."

Miyamoto said County Jail #2, at 7th St. will reopen. County Jail #3 in San Bruno will remain under lockdown due to the incident Tuesday morning, where a Special Response Team had to step in. 

Officials reported a deputy at County Jail #3 was involved in an incident in which jailed people may have used contraband that could be used as a weapon.

At a press conference on Tuesday afternoon, the sheriff displayed two images. One showed a deputy’s arm, which he said had been bit so hard by an incarcerated person that it broke the skin. The second showed a swollen bump on the back of a deputy’s head, who he said was punched to the ground. 

"[The incidents include] punches to the head face and neck, being spit at and kicked in the head, slammed against walls, which result in the injuries of bone fractures, dislocated shoulders and bloody eye sockets," said Miyamoto.

The lockdowns at both county jails began on Friday, after isolated assaults that started March 29.

Miyamoto said the lockdown at County Jail #3 will likely end later this week.

After the deputy’s union blamed poor working conditions and understaffing for the incidents – and asked the sheriff and the city to call in the National Guard – Miyamoto said he doesn’t think staffing is the issue.

"The recent uptick on the assaults of our staff is something I believe we can handle internally and doesn’t rise to that level," said Miyamoto.

He said he blames overcrowded facilities, since only two jails are open for housing, and said they house mostly serious violent offenders who are spending too long in county jail.

There are more than 1,100 people jailed, and only 364 deputies working out of the nearly 500 needed at the jails.

A man currently in jail, Jeffery Walker, who said he was injured in an altercation with a deputy on March 29, said conditions aren’t safe for people like him or the staff. 

"Things are so out of control at the jail that inmates are starting to get unruly because of the conditions going on at the jail," he said. "Deputies are working overtime, shorthanded, 16-hour shifts and I see deputies sleeping at their job post positions. Inmates are fighting against one another, the deputy having to go in and break up something." 

"Incidences where the deputy are assaulting inmates… and there are incidences where deputies have gotten attacked by a prisoner as well, so it goes both ways," he said.

Walker said he was criminally charged with battery and obstructing justice for the fight on March 29, but he is suing the department for excessive force.

In response, Miyamoto said, "In these settings we sometimes have to apply control holds, we do use have levels of force we do have to employ." 

Miyamoto continued, "We have safety measures, training, and plans in place to keep everyone safe, to be able to deescalate, to be able to make sure to create an environment which is safe and responsive to the needs of the incarcerated individuals. However, it does mean we have to deal with physical assaults."

The sheriff said the agency has had challenges getting more staff. 

Each individual case of assault is being investigated. 


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